News In Brief
WorldCom Inc. and Sprint Corp. officially canceled their $129 billion telecommunications merger in the face of extreme opposition from regulators in the US and Europe. The deal's end came two weeks after the Justice Department said it would sue to block the merger. Regulators feared the combination of the No. 2 and No. 3 US long-distance carriers would stifle competition and raise the cost of phone services.
The possibility of selling Pillsbury Co. was confirmed by its owner, food and beverage conglomerate Diageo PLC. The UK firm said it was in talks with General Mills Inc. about the deal, an expected $11 billion share swap. The transaction, if completed, would give Diageo a 30 to 40 percent minority share in the merged entity and cash to invest in its alcoholic-beverage divisions, market sources said. Pillsbury's brands include Green Giant vegetables, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and Old El Paso Mexican foods.
The maker of Hush Puppies shoes, Wolverine World Wide Inc., announced plans to close factories in several locales and cut 1,400 jobs, or 25 percent of its workforce. The cuts will take place in Kirksville, Mo.; Malone, N.Y.; San Jose, Calif.; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Costa Rica; and Ontario. Wolverine would consolidate at other facilities and focus on a narrower product range, the company's chief executive said.
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